Latest News Continued

robert-c.-lauby-fra.jpgThe Federal Railroad Administration has named Robert Lauby Deputy Associate Administrator for Regulatory and Legislative Operations in the Office of Safety, effective March 28, 2010. Lauby, who has more than 30 years ofexperience in railroad safety and regulatory affairs, will replace Deputy Associate Administrator For Safety Standards and Program Development Grady Cothen, who is retiring. Lauby’s title will be different from Cothen’s “to better reflect the responsibilities he is charged with,” FRA spokesman Warren Flatau explained.

Lauby has managed national and international-level programs for the National Transportation Safety Board and the FRA. His past experience also includes designing and testing brake systems for Amtrak and high speed rail systems, and developing and managing the NTSB’s National Railroad and Rail Transit Safety Program. Lauby has extensiveexperience participating with government and industry groups as a member of the RSAC (Railroad Safety Advisory Committee) since its inception, and as a member of the American Public Transportation Association Passenger Rail Equipment Safety Standards Committee. 

The FRA describes Lauby as the agency’s “leading expert on Positive Train Control deployment” and “instrumental in carrying out numerous initiatives related to the Rail Safety Improvement Act, including ECP (electronically controlled pneumatic) brakes.” As co-chair of the RSAC General Passenger Safety task force, he oversaw development of system safety programs, and passenger cardoor control regulations.
 
Lauby was “a key player in developing FRA’s High-Speed Passenger Rail Safety Strategy, a critical element of FRA’s High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and Passenger RailInvestment and Improvement Act.”  He also represents FRA on the RSAC Engineering task force, which was established to consider the use of alternate crashworthiness standards for passenger railcars used in high speed service. --> The Federal Railroad Administration has named Robert Lau ...

Canadian National says that an arbitrator’s award released Thursdayprovides three annual pay increases for 1,700 locomotive engineers represented byTeamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC)—a 1.8% wage increaseretroactive to January 1, 2009, 2.4% in 2010, and 2.6% in 2011. It alsoprovides dental plan improvements that go into effect on April 1, 2010.

Andrew Sims’ arbitration ruling setting the terms andconditions of a new three-year collective agreement expires on Dec. 31, 2011.

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"With a secure labor agreement in place, we will nowwork to re-establish a positive dialogue with the TCRC, focusing on issues ofcommon interest for the company, its employees and its customers,” saidClaude Mongeau, CN’s president and chief executive officer.

The federal government named Sims in December 2009 toarbitrate the CN-TCRC contract dispute, after the company and union agreedto further negotiations and binding arbitration of wages and benefitsif renewed talks failed. The parties’ agreement ended a five-day strike.

 

--> Canadian National says that an arbitrator’s award released Thursdayprovides three annual pay increases for 1,700 locomotive engineers represented byTeamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC)—a 1.8% wage increaseretroactive to Janu ...

The Chicago Transit Authority will soon begin an extended test period on the prototype trainset of its new 5000-Series rapid transit cars from Bombardier. In this photo, taken by CTA official Bruce Moffat, car no. 5009, sporting one-of-a-kind graphics, heads a four-car train that carried Federal Transit Administration officials from the Quincy/Wells “L” stop to Midway Airport and return, on the Orange Line. The prototype, delivered late last year, will undergo a testing period expected to last until year-end, according to Chief Rail Equipment Engineer Walter R. Keevil. Ten prototype cars are on the property; delivery of the balance of the 406-car order is expected to commence in 2011.

cta-series-5000-bruce-moffat.jpgOrdered in 2006 under a contract worth $603.6 million, CTA’s new 5000-Series cars will replace older equipment, some more than 30 years old, such as the 2200-Series Budd cars that were purchased in 1969-70, and the 2400-Series Boeing-Vertol cars purchased in 1976-78. The new cars feature security cameras and aisle-facing seating, and a.c. propulsion. CTA says aisle-facing seating increases passenger capacity and comfort, adding six inches to the narrowest portion of a car’s center and more space for standees, with more support poles and straps in the center of the car. Aisle-facing seating also provides space for an additional wheelchair positions, increasing the total to two per car.

The 5000-Series cars also feature wireless connectivity to their electronic systems. With this feature, train operators can view live video from any railcar when the passenger intercom unit is activated. “This will ensure that operators are better-able to immediately provide information to first responders,” CTA says. “In the future, suitably equipped emergency vehicles could also access railcar video through the wireless connection.”

Diagnostic information is available in real time to shop personnel, enabling them to quickly identify problems and develop repair strategies. “This new diagnostic system will help reduce breakdowns and ensure that when problems occur, technical troubleshooting will begin in real-time, reducing the impact on customers,” CTA said.

Onboard cellular phone modems allow the CTA Control Center to communicate directly with customers in real time via audio and text messages using speakers and six visual displays in each car.

CTA’s long-range plans involve procurement and/or rebuilding of up to 800 rapid transit cars, including options for up to 300 additional Bombardier 5000-Series cars. Should CTA exercise those options, its contract with Bombardier will be worth close to a total of $1 billion. When the initial 406 cars were ordered, it was the largest railcar contract in CTA history.

--> The Chicago Transit Authority will soon begin an extended test period on the prototype trainset of its new 5000-Series rapid transit cars from Bombardier. In this photo, taken by CTA official Bruce Moffat, car no. 5009, sporting one-of-a-kind graphics, head ...

As part of a two-year service agreement, Amtrak has awarded Eta Phi Systems a project to upgrade the Passenger Information Display System (PIDS) on the Capitol and San Joaquin Corridors, Surfliner Service, and Altamont Commuter Express Line. The project includes upgrades to allow ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) for announcements, informational messages, and special-event advertising on Amtrak’s newly purchased Daktronics signs.

“We rely on the PIDS to convey Capitol Corridor serviceupdates to our riders,” Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority Managing Director David Kutrosky said. “The PIDS has proven to be an effective communications tool. We are pleased to benefit from Amtrak’s latest PIDS improvement initiative in California and look forward to having new state-of-the-art displays along our corridor.”

Formed in 2003, Eta Phi Systems is a systems consulting and software development firm specializing in automatic vehicle location, passenger information, and communications systems throughout North America.

 

--> As part of a two-year service agreement, Amtrak has awarded Eta Phi Systems a project to upgrade the Passenger Information Display System (PIDS) on the Capitol and San Joaquin Corridors, Surfliner Service, and Altamont Commuter Express Line. The project includes upgrades to al ...

Dahlman Rose & Co. Thursday hosted a roundtable conference call on the Mexico-U.S. supply chain in which executives from Kansas City Southern “shared valuable insight about cross-border and Mexico operations,”according to Director-Equity Research and Railway Age Contributing Editor Jason Seidl. KCS “described solid 2010 freight shipment growth and favorable long-term prospects south of the border.”

kcs-new-scheme-2.jpgIs Mexico the new “promised land” for manufacturers? “Several macro factors have boosted Mexico’s competitive advantage as a global manufacturing hub,” Seidl notes. “The devaluation of the Mexican peso and the fact that China’s labor cost has generally been rising at a faster rate than that of Mexico have compelled several large international companies to move some, if not all, of their manufacturing to Mexico. The advantages are even more numerous for [U.S.] companies. Benefits include convenience, similar time zones, a young skilled workforce, a lower language barrier, and geographic proximity, which could lead to significant reductions in transportation cost.”

Near-sourcing is already occurring. “It appears that manyglobal companies have recognized the Mexican advantage in recent years,” Seidl says. “Major appliance and electronics manufacturers such as Sumsung, Sharp, Sony, LG, Whirlpool, and John Deere have established manufacturing facilities in the country. Chrysler and Fiat are establishing their presence. The Port of Lazaro Cardenas (a KCS development project) has seen its container capacity catapult to around 2.2 million TEUs from around 0.5 million TEUs a few years ago. While it may be too early to reach grand conclusions regarding a potential shift in global outsourcing trends away from Asia into Mexico, we believe that an increasing number of companies may identify a cost advantage in sending some manufacturing south of the U.S. border.”

This trend is already beginning to benefit Kansas City Southern. Chief Operating Officer Pat Ottensmeyer and Vice President Intermodal & Automotive Brian Bowers noted that Mexican carloadings have recovered more strongly than U.S. traffic. Volumes at KCS de Mexico are up more than 25% year-to-date from the same period last year. Much of the growth has been fueled by robust automotive shipments (up 70.2%), intermodal (up 46%), chemicals (up 22%), and metals (up 13%).

--> Dahlman Rose & Co. Thursday hosted a roundtable conference call on the Mexico-U.S. supply chain in which executives from Kansas City Southern “shared valuable insight about cross-border and Mexico operations,”according to Director-Equity Resea ...

In a message to stockholders in the 2009 Annual Report, released Thursday, Norfolk Southern CEO Wick Moorman says the company entered the new year with "positive momentum" and that “while the short-term economic outlook remains somewhat uncertain, the longer-term prospects for Norfolk Southern and the railroad industry remain very bright.”

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Moorman (pictured at left) cited the company’s strides last year in safety and service, along with cost control, continued investment in key projects, and pursuit of new business opportunities, and said “these same strategies will drive our continuing success in 2010 and beyond.”

“Our traffic levels increased sequentially in both the third and fourth quarters of 2009, and we’re confident many of the cos tefficiencies we achieved in 2009 will remain in place as we see rail traffic continue to increase,” Moorman said.

The annual report is available on the company’s Web site at www.nscorp.com

--> In a message to stockholders in the 2009 Annual Report, released Thursday, Norfolk Southern CEO Wick Moorman says the company entered the new year with "positive momentum" and that “while the short-term economic outlook remains ...

The Association of American Railroads reported Thursday that U.S. railroad freight traffic was from a year ago during the week ended March 13, the third consecutive week of year-over-year gains.

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The 287,837 carloads originated during the represented anincrease of 3.2% from the comparable week in 2009, but a decrease of 12% from 2008.

Intermodal traffic added up 203,626 trailers and containers, up 15.1% from last year and down 5.9% from 2008.

Total volume for the week was estimated at 31.3 billion ton-miles, up 4.3% from last year but down 9% from 2008.

Thirteen of 19 carload groups showed gains from last year, led by metals, up 54.3%; waste and scrap, up 31.8%; grain, up 21.9%; lumber and wood products, up 19.4%; and chemicals, up 19.3%. Coal loadings were off 5.1%, and pulp, paper, and allied products declined 9.4%.

Canadian railroads reported volume of 74,300 cars for theweek, up 24.5% from last year, and 43,260 trailers or containers, up 10.9%. Mexican railroads reported originated volume of 13,524 cars, up 10.4% from last year, and 7,655 trailers or containers, up 63.3%.

Combined North American volume for the first 10 weeks of 2010 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads totaled 3,567,229 carloads, up 3.2% from last year, and 2,520,785 trailers and containers, up 8.6% from last year.

--> The Association of American Railroads reported Thursday that U.S. railroad freight traffic was from a year ago during the week ended March 13, the third consecutive week of year-over-year gains. ...

Electro-Motive Diesel, Inc. announced Thursday that it has signed a Memorandum Of Understanding with the Mohawarean Group in Saudi Arabia to form a joint venture, under which EMD would “provide expert service training and technical support to the maintenance and operational personnel for the entire fleet of locomotives in the region.”

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“As an example of EMD’s leading role in the kingdom, the company is cementing its commitment to Saudi Arabia by producing 25 new high power SD70ACS diesel electric locomotives for the Saudi Railways Company (SAR),” said EMD. “These units are specifically designated for use on the North-South line. They will carry minerals on over 1,482 kilometers [920 miles] of newly constructed track, and are capable of dealing with some of the harshest desert environments including 300 kilometers [186 miles] across the Nofud desert. Delivery of the SD70ACS locomotives is scheduled to begin during the second quarter of 2010.”

EMD said the proposed joint venture will “consider further investment in the Saudi market based on future locomotive demand ... As the fleet of diesel electric locomotives in the region is expected to expand, EMD is developing a Service Center with Mohawarean Group to provide world-class aftermarket support for the existing fleet as well as future fleet expansion."

EMD President and CEO John Hamilton commented, “We are proud of our long history of providing high quality locomotive products and services to the Kingdom since 1957. We realize that the relationship between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and EMD is a key factor to our overall success in the Middle East region, and we foresee an even stronger relationship as we move into the future.”

Mohawarean Group President & CEO Mohammed Al Othman said: “Through our subsidiary company, Mohawarean Railway Services, we are committed to supporting EMD in the transfer of knowledge for the long-term benefit of Saudi Arabia.”

--> Electro-Motive Diesel, Inc. announced Thursday that it has signed a Memorandum Of Understanding with the Mohawarean Group in Saudi Arabia to form a joint venture, under which EMD would “provide expert service training and technical support to ...

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a decree, entitled “On Measures to Develop High-Speed Railway Transport in Russia,” containing a range of directives for the Russian government on measures relating to technical recommendations for high speed rail services, safety requirements, mechanisms for allocating budget funds and obtaining non-budget funds, and also on corresponding staff training.

Russian Railways is identified as the exclusive ordering party in planning infrastructure for HSR. Russian Railways President VladimirYakunin has reported Medvedev on a proposed HSR service linking Moscow and St. Petersburg, the nation’s two largest cities.

Yakunin noted that the high-speed Sapsan trains, inoperation since December 17 between the two cities, are at 90%-to-100% of capacity. Russian Railways plans to add additional trainsets to bolster service frequency in the near future.

Said Yakunin in a statement,  “The signed decree will support Russian Railways in developing high-speed railway transport, which is one of the priority goals of the Strategy for Developing Rail Transport in the Russian Federation up to2030, and one of the most important aspects of the breakthrough development of Russia’s railway system. The provision of high-speed services in Russia will enable us to alter the entire national transport system, providing Russians with freedom of movement while minimizing travel times.

“Moreover, it will havea whole range of positive impacts on the social sphere, transport machinery  production, and other sectors, will enable new technology to be applied, and will boost the country’s international standing,” Yakunin said.

 

--> Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a decree, entitled “On Measures to Develop High-Speed Railway Transport in Russia,” containing a range of directives for the Russian government on measures relating to technical recommendations for high ...

Opening ceremonies took place Wednesday at St. Petersburg State University’s Graduate School of Management for the International Logistics and Supply Chain Management Centre, established jointly by Russian Railways and Germany’s Deutsche Bahn (DB). The center was founded on the basis of a general agreement between DB Schenker, Russian Railways, St. Petersburg State University’s Graduate School of Management, the European Business School,and St. Petersburg State Railway University.

Taking part in the opening ceremony were Russian Railways President Vladimir Yakunin, Deutsche Bahn CEO Rüdiger Grube, officials from the St. Petersburg administration, and Russian and German business representatives.

“The International Logistics Centre should become a unique center of applied science in terms of its form and content, and will unite the efforts of the largest employers in Russia with an international consortium of universities, to develop global-level educational programs, in order to prepare management personnel in international and transport logistics to meet the needs of the sector and the country as a whole,” Yakunin said.

Among other objectives, the center will help develop advanced training programs for staff of Russian Railways and Deutsche Bahn AG, includingthe market needs of both companies.

“In view of the ambitious plans for developing Russian Railways’ logistics business and the scale of its activities, we will in the near future need hundreds of professional management staff in various areas of logistics–the management of terminals, delivery chains, and inventories, the creation of information-logistic systems, and others,” Yakunin said. “By entering the logistics market, we are declaring our plans to become not only the largest transport company, but also one of the leading international logistics companies.”

--> Opening ceremonies took place Wednesday at St. Petersburg State University’s Graduate School of Management for the International Logistics and Supply Chain Management Centre, established jointly by Russian Railways and Germany’s Deutsche Bahn (DB) ...
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